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Symbolism in "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson

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by

Jill Pearce

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of Symbolism in "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson

Symbolism in "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson
Trees
Mirrors
Mouths
"dead leaves still clinging to the oak branches by the street"
p.167
The leaves on the tree are dead and trying to grasp the branches on the old oak tree. Just like Melinda who although is depressed, is desperately trying to hold onto the old, happier Melinda that was once healthy and strong like the oak tree before fall. Just like Melinda before he was raped.
"I adjust the mirror so I reflections of reflections....eyes after eyes after eyes stare back at me. Am I in there somewhere? p.124
Although there's an infinite amount of Melindas reflections she doesnt truley see herself. She sees a reflection. But not Melinda.
"got a disease or something" p. 45
The lead girl in The Martha's commented on Melinds lips and how disgusting and ugly they were. Through out the book it talks about her lios being cracked and bloody. It symbolizes the ugliness and shame she feels inside.
"[Andy's] lips are paralyzed" p. 195
When Melinda finally speaks up and says very firmily "NO" Andy is completely shocked and instead of Melinda's being the mute ones, Andy's are.
“I pushed my ragged mouth against the mirror. A thousand crushed bleeding lips pushed back at me...” p.125
Melinda stands in the three way mirror at the department store and wonder what it would be like if she could just become new and when ti would happen. She says her mouth is "ragged" symbolizing how she lives. Just dragging on; always feeling ugly and terrible.
Shards of glass slip down the wall and into the sink. IT pulls
away from me, puzzled. I reach in and wrap my fingers
around a triangle of glass. I hold it to Andy Evans's neck p 195.
Throughout the entire story Melinda doesn't use mirrors becasue she hates herself and in the entire book that self hatred was a huge conflict within her. She hated her looks. So when she used something that caused her so much self hate againt the person that caused all this pain and suffering, it was monumental for Melinda.
Melinda draws a weeping willow, this "weeping' willow represents her sadness.
“willow tree drooping into the water”
p.147
Through out the entire story Melinda struggles with making the tree look happy and alive. She struggle to make herself happy and alive. As she fight depression in the stroy, Melinda feels dead and bland; she can't seem to be happy.
[Melinda]"can't bring it [the tree] to life"
p.78
"I get out of bed and take down the mirror.I put it in the back of my closet, facing the wall" p.17
Melinda is not only insecure. I'm sure just about every teen is in one way or another, she literally hates herself to the point she actually takes the mirror off the walla dn puts it in the closet.
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